Silverstein Genetics for High School

With support from Science in Society and visiting scientists and faculty, high school students in this program undertake a genetics case study, learn about a hereditary health disorder, and use DNA-based laboratory diagnostics to determine the likelihood of mutation in the fictional patient. Afterward, students assess risk around potential mutations, and examine the legal ramifications of genetic testing on employment, focusing on the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). Students also hear from Feinberg School of Medicine genetic counselors about real world applications of genetic testing.

Read more about this program and the students involved.

“What I liked best about this unit was that we got to actually explore the subjects that we were studying. With the project, we got to apply what we learned to a real life situation. It was not just book work, it was more hands-on and visual.” – Alexis H., Student at Wendell Phillips High School

This program is based at Wendell Phillips High School on the near south side of Chicago.

"The coolest thing about [the Silverstein Genetics program] is that the students have fun and, at the same time, develop critical thinking skills that will be useful long after they graduate." –Tom Volpe, Assistant Professor in Cell and Molecular Biology at Northwestern University

Genetics is one of the most challenging subjects to teach in Chicago Public School high schools. To address this need, the Silverstein Genetics Curriculum was developed with funds from the Center for Genetic Medicine Silverstein Endowment. This month-long curriculum was developed in collaboration with Wendell Phillips High School biology teacher Laura Decker. It incorporates key concepts including authentic research techniques and ethics in genetics.


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